Sep 28, 2011
Think you’ve got a pretty good poker face? Well, save it, because it won’t help you here. Poker Swap Pro takes the idea of assembling different poker hands from the cards you have available to you and turns it into a decent game of solitaire. Chips, cigars and a few extra buddies with thick wallets are also not required.
As far as puzzle games go, Poker Swap Pro isn’t very deep. You have 5 rows and 5 columns of cards, and all you’re doing is swapping them, one at a time, to assemble high-scoring hands vertically and horizontally. Depending on the game mode, you’ll be given a time limit, or a set goal score to beat before you can move on to the next round. There’s also a Zen Mode, with no time limit or other pressures holding you down. It’s just you and the cards, mixing and matching to your heart’s desire.
The addition of special cards with unique attributes add a bit more strategy to the game. You have cards that increase the time limit, score multipliers, locked cards and a stone piece that can be moved, but prevents you from making a full hand in that row/column. You also have to watch out for repeating matches you’ve already made, as this will deduct points. In Survival Mode, you need to be especially careful. You might hit the goal, but find yourself going under it when you make too many mistakes.
The graphics in Poker Swap Pro are rather plain and dull. Cards, menus and other interactive elements barely animate or show off any sort of glitz; they all seem too utilitarian. On one hand, it’s a puzzle game; you don’t really need glitz. On the other hand, some polish is better than none. The same goes for the sound. With no background music, all you have are the sounds of chimes that announce when a special card is in play, an element has been touched or when the cards are shuffling. That’s about it.
My biggest complaint about the game is that it requires you to already have a working knowledge of what cards constitute different hands in poker. If you don’t know the difference between a “flush” and a “straight flush,” you may have trouble getting high scores. On top of that, the game doesn’t tell you what hand you’ve just made, nor does it tell you how to make each kind of hand. This can be a pretty rough experience for newcomers who are not only unfamiliar with this game but who know nothing of poker (or could at least use a quick refresher) as well.
If you know a thing or two about poker and really like solitaire games, Poker Swap Pro can be a lot of fun. Even if you don’t know anything about poker, it’s easy to learn the different hands while having a good time. Then you have OpenFeint achievements, scoreboards and more to make this simple game a great challenge for yourself, or between friends.